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The Lead With Jake Tapper

News/Business. Headlines from around the globe span politics, finance, sports and popular culture. New.

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Obama 23, Bob Dylan 13, Dylan 9, Us 9, Kim Jong-un 7, Jake 7, Cnn 6, Angie 6, America 5, Ntsb 5, Bill Clinton 5, Washington 4, France 4, North Korea 4, Nestle 4, Jake Tapper 3, Paris 3, Clinton 3, Jay Carney 3, U.s. 3,
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  CNN    The Lead With Jake Tapper    News/Business. Headlines from around the globe span  
   politics, finance, sports and popular culture. New.  

    December 3, 2013
    1:00 - 2:01pm PST  

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i'm brooke baldwin. thank you so much for being with me here in new york. i'm back on tv tonight 11:30 eastern, 8:30 pacific. "in case you missed it" is the name of the new show. in the meantime, to washington. "the lead with jake tapper" starts right now. have you heard about this thing called the affordable care act? because the president is not sure that you have. i'm jake tapper. and this is "the lead." the national lead. he knows the rollout was a disaster. he knows many think he broke his promise about being able to keep their plans. now with the obama care website kind of sort of working, the president is making his sales pitch to the american people again. also in national news, we already know the train was going too fast. now we know the engineer says he was in a daze before it derailed. what else will we learn when investigators update us this hour on that deadly train crash in the bronx? and the pop culture lead.
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johnny's in the -- thinking about the french government charging bob dylan for inciting hate? bob dylan? the times, indeed, are a changing. good afternoon, everyone, welcome to "the lead." great to be back with you. i'm jake tapper. we'll begin with the national lead for most of the year. paula deen held the award for worst public disaster, and obama care rolled out, bad headlines, frustrated customers. during that time president obama explained, and eventually apologized. the white house claiming healthcare.gov handled 1 million visitors without major issues, the president is launching a massive three-week-long blitz to entice americans back to the website to sign up for insurance policies. >> the bottom line is this law is working and will work into
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the future. people want the financial stability of health insurance and we're going to keep on working to fix whatever problems come up. >> and so it begins. and this will last until december 23rd, the deadline for people to enroll if they want plans beginning on january 1st. each day the white house says they will plug different benefits that you can get through obama care with help from democrats and progressive action groups. even though we've heard more insurance pitches from the president in the last few months than buill murray endured in "groundhog day." >> just visit healthcare.gov. >> funny you should mention your health because -- >> deal is good. the prices are low. >> i sell insurance. >> what a shock. >> they're leaving a million people now without health insurance. >> i got the feeling you ain't got any. >> people want affordable health care. >> oh, ned ryerson. even if the president succeeds in his career as an insurance
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salesman over the next three weeks, there are a lot of big questions about the implementation of his law. joining me now from the white house, david, senior deputy adviser to the president. david, thanks so much for joining us. i appreciate it. i want to start by asking you about some obama administration e-mails cnn obtained from before the healthcare.gov launch. it suggests the e-mails that they're individuals in the government and with one of the contractors concerned about some fundamental promises the administration made particularly about securing people's private health information. in one e-mail, dated on september 10th, george laneris from cms, centers for medicare and medicaid services indicates the site is storing personal details and writes, quote, this process in itself contradicts all of prior cms statements. this was written before the launch. can you assure us that whatever concerns there were about the personal identifiable information, the pii, that we were told would not be on the hub of healthcare.gov, that all
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that was worked out and none of this personal information can be assessed through the computer, through computers, through the internet? >> that's exactly right, jake. there's no pii on the federal data hub. the federal data hub is basically a conduit that's used basically to determine eligibility and basically see what kind of subsidies and other information are available to consumers. jake, as you know, the system undergoes a tremendous amount of testing around security. it met conditions of the federal information security management act. it complies with the standards for security, and it complies with the same standards of security that are in place for social security. as we identify any problems that occur, we continue to address them, but i can say very, very directly there's no pii on the federal data hub. period. >> all right, david. the "washington post" has reported also that since october 1st, about 1/3 they estimate of those who have signed up for
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plans on the site have errors in their enrollment records. that would mean some folks who think they've successfully signed up for insurance might not be getting what they expect on time. the information that's given to the insurance companies is incorrect. i know that the white house disputes that number. can you tell us what the number is? >> so, what i can tell you, jake, is what the process that folks are undergoing right now, which is an important process that's a collaboration between cms and the insurance companies. just over the past weekend, they put in new fixes. for folks at home, essentially the 834 is a way to transfer the enrollle from healthcare.gov to the insurance companies and there were some errors that it developed in the first couple of months. that's significantly getting better, and now there are teams that are working through these on a daily basis to make sure it's even better. one final point on this, and i believe cms has spoken to this, that over the course of the next two to three weeks, cms is going
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to be reaching out to folks who are enrolled through the federal marketplace just to confirm with them to make sure that they've made the connection with the insurance company so that they're covered on january 1st. so that's something that we're going to work through to make sure happens with folks. >> david, i want to play some sound from house judiciary committee chairman bob goodlatte from earlier today. >> from obama care, to immigration, the current administration is picking and choosing which laws to enforce. >> now, i think when it comes to obama care, the president has been criticized and mr. goodlatte was referring to delaying the employer mandate and other things the president has done because you weren't going to be able to make deadline. what exactly is the authority for the president to decide which parts of obama care to enforce at which date? >> jake, as the representative knows, and us folks during that committee know, the president is using his prosecutorial discretion that's built into the law to make sure there's a
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smooth implementation of the law. that's part of the function of making sure that you roll things out smoothly and importantly. just have one point to make on the hearings, such as the one today. what is striking is that over the course of the past two months, while we try to fix the website and make sure that the million visits that went on to healthcare.gov, that those people have a good experience and are able to buy insurance, we're trying to make this better. when there is no alternative that's being made in any of these hearings from house republicans and specifically that committee today. so everything that we are doing is consistent with the law, and is with the intention of making sure that the american people have access to affordable, quality health care and that's the whole point of the affordable care act. >> david, 1 million people visited the site yesterday, but i believe i read that 18,000 signed up? that's a very low rate of people actually enrolling for obama care, enrolling in the affordable care act, if you have
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a million visitors. >> so, jake, first of all, i'm not going to confirm how many enrollments there were yesterday. we'll release those numbers later on in the month. but here's what i think we learned in the massachusetts experience in 2007. john kingsdale who ran that speaks to this eloquently. when people go on to a website to look at insurance products, they two back eight, nine, ten times. they spend 20 minutes or 30 minutes looking at their different options because this isn't an impulse purchase. it's about making sure you find the plan that works best for you. >> but david, if that's the case, david, if that's the case, why not just share the numbers? the president has talked many times about transparency. and it seems like the white house releases numbers that are good when they want to, and bad ones they hide as much as possible. we don't know how many of those 834 forms are faulty. we don't know how many people, for sure, enrolled in obama care. but you're out there talking about a million visitors.
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why not just put all the information out there? the american people are grown-ups. >> so, jake, in terms of releasing numbers, this is like medicare, it's like medicaid. it's like the monthly release of jobs numbers. we said from the beginning that once a month, so we can do quality control to make sure that we've got the numbers in from the different states. we will release the numbers and do that again in december for the month of november. we are working night and day to make sure, and we've crossed an important threshold with healthcare.gov, to make sure that it's up and running and it's functional and we'll continue to release some information like today's announcement from cms that just in the month of october, jake, just in october, 1.46 million people were made eligible for medicaid. now, that's part of a regular release of information and we'll have more on enrollment in a couple weeks. >> david simas at the white house. thanks for your time. >> thank you. the engineer admits he was in a daze moments before the deadly train derailment in new
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york. was he solely responsible for the crash? we're waiting for an update and we'll bring it to you live. bill clinton defends himself from critics saying he was trying to help his wife by tweaking president obama. ♪ stacy's mom has got it goin' on ♪ ♪ stacy's mom has got it goin' on ♪ [ male announcer ] the beautifully practical and practically beautiful cadillac srx. get the best offers of the season now. lease this 2014 srx for around $369 a month with premium care maintenance included. ♪
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yep. got all the cozies. [ grandma ] with new fedex one rate, i could fill a box and ship it for one flat rate. so i knit until it was full. you'd be crazy not to. is that nana? [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. welcome back to "the lead." time for the politics lead. first rule about re-branding obama care, you do not talk about obama care. today the white house launched a three-week blitz on the public's perception of the affordable care act. because, according to press secretary jay carney, obama care does not exist anymore. here's what he told cnn's jim acosta. >> jim, i, first of all, there's not an insurance policy called obama care. i think it's important to your viewers that they understand they're purchasing private insurance. >> still, the president didn't shy away from the term today when he was defending the law. >> that seems to be the only
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alternative that obama care's critics have is, let's just go back to the status quo because they sure haven't presented an alternative. >> so what's in a name? let's bring in our panel, editor of the "weekly standard," bill kristol, former arkansas senator and chairwoman of the it's my business coalition, blanche linco lincoln, and washington bureau che chief for "usa today" susan page. former president bill clinton is slapping down reports a few weeks ago he was trying to give hillary clinton, his wife who may be running for president some day, some cover when he suggested president obama should honor his promise, if you like your health plan, you should keep your health plan. here's what he said to cnn espanol today. >> many believe you did it to distance yourself, former secretary of state and senator hillary clinton thinking of a presidential run. >> the answer to the first question is no. first of all, i said nothing about this. not one word until the
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president, himself, spoke. >> what do you think? what do you make of it? >> well, i, who knows. if hillary runs, i hope she does, i'll be right there behind her just like i was last time. i think it's important to keep promises. continuing to work to make sure the affordable care act works and gets rolled out in a way that people can access it is essential. >> bill? bill clinton, your thoughts? >> first i feel like i have to say three or four times, obama care, obama care, obama care, since jay carney is now forbidd forbidden. the president uses it all the time. >> last year on the campaign trail, he said it, i like it, obama care. >> when you don't like the policy you get on the exchanges, that's not obama care, that's a private insurance company giving you a policy. when it's benefits, it's obama care. i guess that's just politics. bill clinton, bill clinton is great, you know. bill clinton is 24/7 worrying about mrs. clinton, secretary clinton's chances for 2016.
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she'll be in a tricky position, i mean, she was part of the obama administration. she can't really walk away from it. on the other hand, she's not going to want, i think, to inherit all the baggage that might be there by 2016. >> there is something about whether or not calling it obama care is a problem, susan. today, house minority whip steny hoyer told reporters, quote, i wish i hadn't called it obama care before because that has politicized it and has been used by republicans as a pejorative term. by calling it obama care, it's a pejorative term. that's interesting coming from a house democratic leader. >> yeah, well, the source is surprising but the fact is true. the gulf organization tested that in their poll and found the affordable care act gets higher ratings than obama care. you can describe exactly the same policy but labeling it with obama does inject very partisan politics into it. so it -- but i think the white house decided, whatever jay carney said today, the white house decided a long time ago, it's going to be called obama
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care. that is a losing battle. talk to headline raters who have to fit affordable care act into a headline and they'll tell you obama care -- >> by the way, isn't even the full name, right? it's actually longer than that. that you're speaking of that gallup poll about how the affordable care act tests better than obama care. jimmy kimmel, a friend of the show, put that to the test on the streets of los angeles. >> do you agree with the affordable care act or obama care? >> the affordable. >> why do you prefer the affordable care act over obama compare? >> i don't agree with the whole obama care policy thing that's going on. >> now, the truth is, most people are busy. day live their lives. they're not like us focused on all this policy, but this does indication a communications problem for the white house. >> no, i don't agree. >> you don't? >> nothing's changed in the last two months, whether it's called obama care or the affordable care act. what's changed in the last two months, real people are getting real insurance policies canceled and seeing what they can get on the exchange and don't mike what they're getting.
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it's reality. it's not communications. i think the president can tell himself and the white house staff can tell themselves, gee, if we give more speeches and say this and say that, their problem is the actual results of obama care are bad for an awful lot of americans and getting worse i think. >> they do have to give more speeches and got to get out and sell it, but the affordable care act, that's what i've called it all along, you know, it does matter what you call it because for me, as a member of congress, when i'd go home to my state, people would say, what do you have? i had the federal employees health benefit plan. it was private insurance we got at a good price with good coverage because all 8 million federal employees were pooled together and when the opm negotiated, they got us a good deal from private insurers. >> you could choose among the private insurers. you didn't have to choose one that included mandated benefits. >> had to meet the state mandates. >> which all insurance plans have had to. you should have expanded --
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>> olympia and i tried to do that. >> they'd be better off if you had succeeded the president would have been better off. >> there are policies and programs that where a pr campaign can help. this isn't one of them. this affects people's lives. they'll make their own judgment, good or bad, whether this helped them, their families, relatives and neighbors. that's obama's problem but it's also his hope. >> potential solution. if the website is up and promises what it would do for a jee majority of americans. susan, bill, blanche, thank you for being here. the national transportation safety board will update us on cause of sunday's metro north train crash and maybe shed light on who's to blame. and if you're like most americans, you bought those jeans 50% off from the comfort of your couch while eating thanksgiving leftovers. did the success of cyber monday come at black friday's expense? we're aig. and we're here. to help secure retirements and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild.
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welcome back to "the lead." it's time for the money lead. here's one important lesson we learned this holiday shopping season. people are much more into getting a deal on flat screen
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tvs from the comforts of their laptops or smartphones versus getting tackled wwe style at a store on black friday. go figure. cyber monday sales hit record highs this year, at least one-on-one shopping research group says sales were up nearly 20%. what's still not clear is whether that will be enough to lift retailers out of their black friday funk. despite the fact most stores opened before your uncle could hit the sweet spot in his annual drunken thanksgiving tirade, this year, black friday spending took a 13% dip. joining me now live from chicago is diane, a chief economist and senior managing director of mezero financial. let's start with cyber monday. why such a huge jump in spending this year versus years past? were the deals that much better? >> they actually were. we're seeing much more of the kinds of promotions you saw in stores on black friday which i think has become red friday because they almost had a loss now and was extended on, as you said, on thanksgiving day, it
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was crazy. those sales, i know one of my colleagues got online at 1:00 a.m. because he knew he could get ahold of those sales at 1:00 a.m. of course, he works for me so i worry what he was doing at 1:00 a.m. on monday morning. he was online. he wasn't online -- we call it cyber monday because people used to come into work because they had faster internet service. now people have it an smartphones, tablets, get access to the internet anywhere. and with free shipping which is almost standard this holiday season along with they have these windows of sales operations for the next two hours you get an extra 30% off. that has sort of pushed it and it really is a sign of people seeking out the best deals as well. >> diane, how big a role are smartphones playing in the cyber monday boom? >> i think they're huge. i think the whole expansion of, you know, how we can get access to these sales is important but also the fact there is a blurred line. what is an online sale? we know the commerce department says it's less than 10% of overall retail sales. a lot of brick and mortar retailers, it's a blur of where do the sales end at the store
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and where do they begin? sometimes you can pick up the things at the store, or do they begin online? there are some things offered only online. i twhal hactually had to look uy son, 16, the kpx xbox 1, playstation 4. they're not being offered as the premium today they are on e bay. everyone thought they were sold out october 1st, they put them up on ebay. guess what? they're a lot cheaper. i guess i should have waited for my son. >> you always can wait. >> his birthday was november 11th. it was for his birthday. >> you couldn't have waited then. >> right. >> retailers seem to be more nervous this year than in years past. we're seeing some of that play out on wall street. but it would seem to figure that people are still spending. it's just a question of whether they do it at retailers or online. why would wall street worry, why so much anxiety if it's all money being spent? >> well, that's a good question. i think the real issue is, you know, consumer confidence started to deteriorate before we had the government shutdown.
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then it took a plummet. it's really not come back. retailers are scared because we had a weak back-to-school season. birthrates have fallen since 2008. that means fewer zero to 5-year-olds out there. who do we spend on christmas? the holiday sales, on children. all those things coming together with a weak economy, and consumers who know frankly they won't buy anything at least until it's 30% off. that is cutting into retailer margins. no matter how consumers are spending, it feels like it's going to be a mediocre holiday season. that's what wall street is worried about. >> bad news. diane swonk, thank you so much. we appreciate it. happy birthday to your son. the train was barreling at 85 miles an hour when it hit the deadly turn. we'll bring you the latest on the bronx story and a live press conference just a minute away. [ female announcer ] thanks for financing my first car. thanks for giving me your smile.
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thanks for inspiring me. thanks for showing me my potential. for teaching me not to take life so seriously. thanks for loving me and being my best friend. don't forget to thank those who helped you take charge of your future and got you where you are today. the boss of your life. the chief life officer. ♪ welcome back to the "the lead." we'll bring you a live news conference from the national transportation safety board. they'll give us the latest on their investigation into the harrowing metro north train derailment that killed four people in the bronx on sunday. cnn learned the train's engineer, william rockefeller, told investigators at the scene he was, quote, in a daze just before the accident. that news coming from two senior new york law enforcement sources. however, rockefeller also said the brakes failed him.
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as cnn has also reported. the ntsb has revealed the train was speeding at 82 miles per hour when it reached a sharp curve with a 30 mile per hour limit. the locomotive and all seven cars jumped the tracks, a mass of twisting metal. nic robertson is standing by at the site of the ntsb news conference in new york, and i want to bring in john galia, former member of the national transportation safety board. nick, any indication about what we're going to hear from the ntsb. >> well, if they have been talking with the train engineer, rockefeller, today, then there may be a few more details to come forward from that. yesterday they were reluctant to give any information about their interview with him until it was concluded -- >> nick, i'm sorry to be rude. >> tuesday, we're going to hear more. >> yeah, we're going to hear more right now. i apologize for being rude. let's go live to the ntsb press conference. >> good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. it's been a very busy but quite productive day for our
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investigative team. today investigators from the recorders group sat down with the metro north official familiar with the accident route and this territory and reviewed the date a from the cab car. from that meeting, we've determined the metro north mechanical department performed a proper brake test prior to the accident train leaving the station, and there were no anomalies noted. in addition, the crew conducted what's called a running air brake test shortly after leaving the station and, again, no anomalies were noted. we also looked at the data for each of the station stops along the route and saw no anomalies or degradation of the braking performance as the trip went along. simply put, based on these data, there's no indication that the brake systems were not functioning properly.
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also today, investigators began a more detailed inspection to each of the railroad cars and a locomotives. these cars were moved late yesterday to secure rail yards, and investigators spent the day documenting and inspecting the mechanical systems. in addition, we're continuing to continue -- we're continuing signal testing and to date, no anomalies have been found. the operations group continued interviewing the members of the crew today, including the engineer whose interview is currently under way. in addition, they interviewed first responders to the accident scene. as required by federal regulation, following the accident, each member of the crew was drug and alcohol tested. the results from the alcohol breath tests were all negative. the results of the other tests are still pending. with regard to the engineer, he
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has worked for metro north for 15 years and been an engineer for ten of those years. this was his regularly scheduled route. making two round trips each day with a typical day lasting approximately nine hours. the engineer had been running this particular route full time since november 17th. this was the second day of a five-day workweek. on the day of the accident, he reported to work at 5:04 a.m., was scheduled to leave at 5:54 a.m., and left on time. now, many of you have asked about whether or not positive train control would have prevented this accident. what i can say is that for more than 20 years, the ntsb has recommended the implementation of ptc technology. broadly speaking, we know that human error can't be eradicated and that ptc is capable of supplementing the human operation. these systems provide a safety
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redundancy by slowing or stopping a train that's not being operated in accordance with signals, speed limits or other operating rules. ptc is proven technology that can prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, and incursions into work zones. since this is a derailment involving a high-speed train, it's possible ptc could have prevented it. while this is our last on-scene media briefing, our work on this investigation is far from complete. investigators will continue interviewing the crew and employees of metro north and will interview passengers on the train and additional first responders as necessary. they will also complete some testing of the signal system and documentation and inspection of the rail cars and the locomotives. i'd like to express my sincere appreciation to all the responders and officials from state and local new york
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government. at every turn, they've made our jobs easier and we really appreciate their support. finally, before i take some questions, i would like to set some ground rules. if you have a question, please raise your hand and i'll call on you. i want to make sure that as many of you as possible have a chance to ask a question. i'd also ask that you identify yourself and your outlet. with that, i'd be happy to take a few questions. yes? >> i want to bring in a former member of the national transportation safety board. so, no brake problems found. are there any other mechanical issues that could have caused this? >> the only thing that's not mentioned so far is the length, the communications link from the cab at the front of the locomotive, the front of the train, to the locomotive. that is a rather remote possibility of it causing problems. but it needs to be checked out
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and i'm sure they are going to do that as they do the detailed inspection of the cars and the locomotive. it's beginning to look more and more like operator had a problem, an error of some kind. whether he dozed off or something else. >> and in your experience, sir, the sources have told cnn that the engineer says he was, quote, in a daze. what does that imply to you? fatigue? they made clear there they said he was on day two of a five-day shift. which one would presumably means he wouldn't necessarily be fatigued. what do you take from what we've heard so far in terms of possible operator error? >> my initial reaction to hearing that daze off comment was possibly he suffers from sleep apnea and you get in a comfortable position in the cab and maybe it was nice and warm and he dozed off. >> all right. john, thank you so much. we appreciate it. nic robertson, thank you as well. coming up next on "the lead" he's often pictured standing next to the north korean leader.
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now kim jong-un's uncle is reportedly out of a job. and his buddies are dead. plus a paris prosecutor charges bob dylan with inciting hatred for something he said in a "rolling stone" article a year ago. what did he say that's getting him in trouble now? when we come back. my asthma's under control. i get out a lot... except when it's too cold. like the last three weekends. asthma doesn't affect my job... you missed the meeting again last week! it doesn't affect my family. your coughing woke me up again. i wish you'd take me to the park. i don't use my rescue inhaler a lot... depends on what you mean by a lot. coping with asthma isn't controlling it. test your level of control at asthma.com, then talk to your doctor. there may be more you could do for your asthma.
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and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks.
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welcome back to "the lead." our world lead. paging dennis rodman. the world needs you to check in with your friend kim jong-un and find out what's going on in north korea. rumors are swirling courtesy of south korean lawmakers that kim jong-un's uncle has been hurt. two of his aides have been executed. the uncle is a well known top adviser to the leader and vice chairman of north korea's top military body. we should be clear cnn has not independently verified any of this and the state department says it has no information to share. and we're serious about rodman's diplomacy. he's going back to north korea in a couple weeks for a documentary. when it comes to kim jong-un, what should we make of his
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ousting his uncle if it's true? is it sign of an internal political power struggle of kim jong-un separating from his father? i want to bring in christopher hill, former ambassador, he was the lead u.s. delegate during the six-party talks with north korea from 2005 to 2009. mr. ambassador, thanks so much. as we said, cnn has not verified this. how trustworthy is information coming from south korea when it comes to this sort of thing? >> well, it varies, but i think with respect to this, i give it a greater probability of being true than some of the other stuff that comes out. i mean, he has not been seen now for a couple of months, maybe more when it comes to actually standing next to kim jong-un. he's a bit of an erasable fellow and has had his problems in the fast, so this wouldn't be the first time. >> why do you think that kim jong-un would remove his uncle, and unfortunately as with so much about north korea, we have
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to theorize and speculate because it's -- we don't know much about what's going on there. but as somebody who has experience in the region, why would that happen? is it about separating himself from his father, perhaps? >> yeah, i think that could be part of it. but it's clear that at the beginning of the kim jong-un rule, where he had tek at his side the whole time, it sort of opened up a question whether kim jong-un was really in charge. one thing we know about this boy king is that he very much wants to show he's in charge, so it could be that he simply had a falling out with tek, as his father did at variatious times. he's also always as pains to show he's a different kind of guy from his father, and he's also the kind of guy who makes these kind of impetuous decisions and certainly last spring, when he was threatening war on the rest of the planet, you didn't see much of tek involved in that, so i suspect
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that there's some substantive disagreements and he's, he really wants to show north koreans especially that he's in charge. >> well, that's interesting. if tek, the uncle, was not visible during that very heated period in the spring, when kim jong-un was threatening the world, what are we to make of what role the uncle, who is belie believed to have been -- i hesitate to use the term, but is he a moderating force at all? >> yeah, good for you to hesitate to use that term, because i was about to say the same thing. there are indications that he was sort of more aware of market forces and economics than maybe kim jong-un was. there are certainly, has always been the view that tek erred on the side of being more moderate. he's obviously a hard-nosed guy that's been part of that
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miserable leadership for many, many years. so it is hard to say if he is leaving the scene, what that really means, but i have a feeling it doesn't mean anything good and could, in fact, mean that kim jong-un is very much on his own along with some of these new military people that he has appointed himself. >> of course, mr. ambassador, we can't have a conversation about north korea without talking about the two americans being held prisoner, merrill newman and ken bae. can you talk about that? >> it's a very painstaking process, and i think rule number one is not to talk about it too much in public except to state the obvious. that they ought to be released immediately. but i am sure, i have no doubt, that the u.s. government is doing what it can to get these people released, but the more they talk about it publicly, probably the more difficult it is. i recall very well the iranian situation where we had these
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three hikers who were caught for no apparent reason, and what these issues often descend to is the internal politics of the country in which they're being held captive. and so the more we say publicly, the more that can be used by which ever side. so i think it's important to work quietly behind the scenes and i suspect we're doing that. and i do hope the chinese are stepping up in this regard. >> ambassador christopher hill, thank you so much. >> thank you. when we come back, two weeks ago, he was receiving the highest hohigh est honor in france. today bob dylan is being sued in paris for inciting hatred? ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go,
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welcome back to "the lead." time for the pop culture lead. as a young man, he was the shakespeare of the protest movement who penned unflinching songs that forced a changing america to confront racial tensions and social injustice. during the 1963 march on washington, when martin luther king jr. gave his "i have a dream" speech, bill dylan was there leading thousands in songs. dust off your old man's records and listen to tunes like "chimes of freedom," "hattie carol and the hurricane" and let this headline sink in, the french are charging, dylan in inciting hate. it all stems from a year-old
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interview dylan gave to "rolling stone" in which he likens croatians to nazis, kind of, sort on. here's the quote. quote, if you have a slave master or klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. that stuff lingers to this day, like jews can sense nazi blood and the serbs can sense croatian blood. let's get more on this. i'll start with you, it was the representative of the croatian community in france that first cried foul, and the french government followed through. what does incitement of hatred even mean? >> well, this is crazy, but i want to make the point that it's not 100% crazy. you know, we have a tradition in this country of the first amendment. we're virtually absolute freedom of speech. after world war ii, france and a lot of other very civil visized countries said, we're not going to allow hate speech anymore.
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we are going to outlaw it, and in canada you can't deny the holocaust took place. they have a different tradition than we do. someone clearly overzealously decided what dylan said in this interview amounted to hate speech. it's not going to go anywhere. it's not going to -- he's not going to have to pay a fine. i think people should just understand where this comes from. it's not an act of pure insanity. >> well, and we see in europe they don't have the same freedoms we do when it comes to a lot of things. france, i think muslim girls can't wear hi jabs, and in the uk they're going after the "guardian" today, house of commons. chris, what happened to bob dylan, is there any substance to this charge, you think? >> well, you know, i don't want to discount the pain that this group may be feeling or may or may not be feeling about what bob dylan said. but having interviewed bob dylan and spent some time with bob dylan and met bob dylan's son, jacob, and spent time with him, i got to say flat-out, bob dylan is not a racist. i can't believe i even have to
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say that, but we know this in a way that we know martin luther king is not a racist, nelson mandela is not a racist. we know this from their work. this guy has a track record. "lonesome death," "in the wind." "hurricane." human dignity. it's threaded throughout the fabric of who he is as an artist. this whole thing just seems insane. i'm saying that with all due respect to whatever pain the people are bringing this charge are feeling. >> jeff, dylan was in paris to receive the legion of honor award when he was charged. the government is not trying to fine him. they're apparently just looking for an apology. if you were his legal adviser, would you tell him to give one? >> you know, bob dylan operates by his own rules. he is a truly great man. i don't think there is any dispute about that. he is a major cultural figure in american history and he has been on the right side of all these
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issues. it is possible that what he said was misinterpreted. i think it would be a good thing for him to explain what he meant. but certainly the government should not the be involved in punishing him, fining him in any way. it would be a good idea for him to talk about these issues. he has done nothing but bring positive attention to these sorts of issues. so, apology probably not. he's not that straightforward a thinker or speaker but he probably should maybe clarify what he said. >> chris, we always talk about the new dylan and pop culture. does anyone approach dylan when it comes to raising social consciousness? >> there's no new dylan. obviously the people that are direct descendants, some of the social conscience of u2 is directly from dylan, of course. bruce springsteen, some of his social energy comes directly from bob dylan. the people that sound like dylan like the lumineers, mumford &
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sons. when you hear mclamor rap a song about same-sex marriage and unions and celebrating that, that comes directly from bob dylan. that's a kind of thing that he used to do in standing up for the little guy, disenfranchised, people on the margins. we do see that same string still flow through pop music. but, again, it's hard to find, but it was always hard to find. >> chris fer farley, jeffrey toobin, thanks so much. sorry i have to cut you off there. coming up, he tried to sell a script about a crack smoking may mayor. no one was interested. that was before rob ford was all over our tvs. why he should send a gift basket to the toronto mayor, coming up.
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welcome back to "the lead." finally from us in pop culture news, seth rogen and writing partner had a crazy idea for a movie a few years ago. a politician smokes crack and gets into zany trouble. the idea so whack, so edgy, so
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out there, hollywood wouldn't touch. it. what kind of politician smokes crack and finds himself in the middle of a hot mess? oh. right. that guy. rogen tells canada's "globe and mail" the script has sold now after years of rejections. he believes toronto mayor's rob ford recent misadventures turned his old script into a hot commodity. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. new revelations. investigators announced they found no signs of problems with the brakes in the deadly train derailment. cnn learned what the engineer said about his state of mind only seconds before the accident. could it have played a role? candid clinton. the former president talking to cnn about the next race for the white house. will it pit hillary clinton against joe biden? red kettle robbery. heartless thieves steal christmas from

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